It’s holiday season, and if you’re like us, then you like to get festive. There’s no shame in it; nearly 103 million Americans say being in the festive spirit is their favorite part of the holidays. For a lot of us, decorating means hanging holiday lights. It’s a fun way to increase your family’s cheer levels and spread a little joy to your neighbors and passersby. But hanging up holiday lights can be extremely dangerous if you don’t take safety into account while you’re doing it.
There’s nothing like an injury or home damage to put a damper on your holiday spirit. To help remedy this, we’ve put together some safety tips for hanging holiday lights.
Why Do I Need to Worry About Hanging Lights?
We don’t like associating something happy like holiday decorations with pain and property damage, but the risks are real. In the United States alone, around 15,000 people are injured every year in November and December due to decoration-related incidents. And that’s only the reported statistics; it doesn’t take into account people who wouldn’t or couldn’t go to the hospital.
Many of these injuries are a result of damage incurred while hanging up lights, including falls, lacerations, electrocutions, and fires. These certainly aren’t the jolliest experiences you can have. So, how do you avoid all of this?
Tips for Hanging Safely
Hanging holiday lights safely is about more than just saying “be careful.” Many factors can increase your risks of injury. Let’s take a look at each one and what you can do about them.
Before you even get started decorating, you have to pick a good time to do it. It is crucial that you check the weather before hanging up any lights. There are obvious risks like rain and heavy winds to consider, but those aren’t the only risk factors. Ask yourself, “How has the weather been recently?” “Did rain or hail leave ice on my roof, fences or other areas?” If so, wait for the ice to thaw before hanging any lights.
Also, be sure not to underestimate snow. Sure, you can clear it out of the way, but if you’re decorating while it’s snowing, then specific patches of your roof can accumulate snow and become just as slippery as ice.
One of the most dangerous parts of hanging holiday lights is ladders. The importance of ladder safety can’t be understated; here are some general ladder safety guidelines to follow:
- Never use a ladder alone, your ladder buddy should keep a hold of the ladder at all times.
- Always make sure your ladder is sturdy and can hold your weight.
If you go out onto your roof, avoid walking upright, and crawl on all fours when possible to lower the risk of losing your balance. Also, wear appropriate safety attire like work gloves, safety glasses, long pants, and shirts with sleeves.
When attaching lights to your home, refrain from using nails or staples. These can penetrate insulation and cause electrical fire hazards. You also put yourself at risk when you hammer while standing on a ladder or roof. Using safety light hangers is a much safer option when hanging your lights.
Getting lights up can be a pain sometimes, but be patient. Rushing through this is one of the best ways to cause an injury. Decorate your home one small area at a time, going down and moving your ladder frequently so that you don’t have to reach. If you don’t finish in one day, just leave it until tomorrow; decorating in the dark increases your risk of injury significantly.
When choosing which new lights to purchase, always opt for LED lights. They use less energy, are more durable and most importantly, they don’t overheat like incandescent bulbs. If you are decorating the exterior of your home, make sure to only hang lights that are approved for outdoor use.
If you are hanging up lights you already own, inspect them thoroughly before hanging them up. Look for cracked sockets, wire frays, and burnt out or missing bulbs. Any of those things can cause an electrical fire.
Avoid hanging lights on flammable decorations, plant life, and other lights like lamps. If you are hanging holiday lights on a tree, always try to get a real tree, and if you can’t, ensure that your synthetic tree is flame retardant. Burning synthetic materials will damage your home and your family’s lungs.
Make the Holidays Memorable for the Right Reasons
The holidays are a time for goodwill, togetherness, and cheer. Help keep it that way by observing the safest practices when decorating your home. DryHome wishes you and happy and safe holiday season.